When It Follows came out, I was excited. EW gave it rave reviews as a great horror movie. Scary even. Audiences loved it. It won multiple awards at film festivals. The hype made me want to see it even more. This week, I watched it and came to this conclusion: It’s not a horror movie.
Here’s why: (contains spoilers)
It’s a twisted love story, not horror.
It Follows is no more of a horror movie than Warm Bodies, which is listed as comedy, romance, horror. IMDB lists It Follows as horror, mystery, thriller, but I can’t figure out why. Just because you have horror/supernatural elements, it doesn’t make it a horror movie. The main character and her “Duckie” end up together after struggles and hardships. He has to prove his love to her, and she has to accept it. I interpreted the ending as they commit to one another to destroy the curse, or at least find an escape. They don’t live happily ever after, but they find love and acceptance.
If it’s not a love story, it’s a coming-of-age movie.
This movie focuses on the main character’s self-esteem and coming to terms with who she is. She starts out dreamy and vibrant, and throughout the movie, the curse tries to destroy her. Sure, it comes after her in a physical sense, but it also mentally forces her to deal with her decisions. She’s 19 but seems disconnected from the world. Once her friends and family become involved, the film evolves into a strange adventure. Through her experiences and trials, she grows up, and almost everyone survives. She learns to love someone, accept herself, and carry on.
It wasn’t scary.
I read many reviews about the fear factor. Reviewers and websites called it “different and scary.” Different, yes. Scary, no. If you’re scared of catching an STD, it may scare you. If you’re safe, then it’s “scariness” is lame and nonexistent. I’ve scared myself more hearing a weird noise at home. The movie lacks eeriness, suspense, mystery, jump scenes and build up. The basics of an effective horror movie are absent or barely touched upon.
Only one person dies.
Ok, I know horror doesn’t have to be all blood and gore, but it does help if people die. I understand the psychological horror, however you’d think a curse stalking people would kill its prey. The one guy who dies goes quickly – in a sick way – but all you see is his blue, lifeless face. Also, there’s no blood. The movie does pay homage to many old-school horror movies, but the absence of blood makes it stick out. Old-school horror movies loved blood and guts, so if a movie pays homage to them, it should too.
With all that said, I did enjoy the movie. It was shot extremely well. The director did a fantastic job of combining art with film without feeling artsy. I loved Yara (Olivia Luccardi), the odd best friend who gets shot and just sits there and takes it. She was the best character in the movie, and she added a fun element. There were several plot holes, and at times it was confusing, but I’m glad I saw it. It Follows is worth a watch if you want to stay current, but if you want a good horror movie, skip this one.
We welcome a good debate, so if you feel it is a horror movie, feel free to share your comments below!